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I’m taking a little liberty here and posting a very enlightening article about an activity most of us enjoy when the weather is hot.

Swimming – that is, at least jumping into a pool, stream or heading to the beach.

It can be a highly enjoyable activity, but obviously there’s an danger – drowning.

As a LONG AGO lifeguard and water safety instructor, I found the following article and medical information profoundly enlightening.

Please  –  FOR THE SAFETY OF YOURSELF, FAMILY AND FRIENDS  –  I urge you to read and remember it.

I want all your water and swimming activities to be cherished as happy events.

DON’T LET YOUR GUARD DOWN!

The last time I checked -

NEARLY  90%  OF  ALL  DROWNINGS  OCCUR  IN  UNSUPERVISED  AREAS  ( NO  LIFEGUARDS  PRESENT ).

Please realize non swimmers are not the only victims – sometimes ‘good’ swimmers either overestimate their abilities or get themselves in unforeseen trouble. Sometimes the unforeseen trouble is coming to the rescue of a non swimmer who is in trouble.

The process of drowning is not as obvious as you may think……

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

 by Mario Vittone  (May 3, 2010)

in Boating Safety,Water Safety

The new captain jumped from the deck, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the couple swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard.

”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”

How did this captain know – from fifty feet away – what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten?

Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television.

If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story.

Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.

The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect.

There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult.

In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC). Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:

  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

(Source: On Scene Magazine: Fall 2006 (page 14))

This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble – they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long – but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs – Vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder.

So if a crew member falls overboard and everything looks OK – don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning.

They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them.

And parents – children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

(The above article is available in several languages and an audio version at

    http://mariovittone.com/2010/05/154/

About Mario Vittone…

Mario Vittone has nineteen years of combined military service in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.  His writing on maritime safety has appeared in Yachting, Salt Water Sportsman, On Scene, Lifelines, and at theNavalSafetyCenter’s Online Resource Site. He has also written for Reader’s Digest magazine.  He has lectured extensively on topics ranging from leadership and innovation to sea survival and immersion hypothermia.

Mario worked as an Aviation Survival Technician and helicopter rescue swimmer for the U.S. Coast Guard inNew Orleans,LAand Elizabeth City, NC, flying on hundreds of search and rescue cases. He is currently working as a Marine Safety Specialist with Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads inNorfolk,VA.

The following is from a doctor about the process of drowning…

Dr. Heidi Dalton, chief of critical-care medicine at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, explains what can happen when a child is drowning:

STAGE 1

 When infants or small children fall into the water, they have a strong reflex action to not get water into their lungs. They often will flail their arms and fight to resurface. They will flail to the point of exhaustion, to where they are forced to take a breath because their body senses they don’t have enough oxygen. They experience a sensation of suffocating.

STAGE 2

As they start to sink, the drive to breathe kicks in, probably the biggest response the body has. The children may gulp water. They will pass out. Losing consciousness comes from not having enough oxygen circulating in the blood. Young children tend to store less oxygen in the bloodstream, so they may pass out more quickly than those children who are older.

STAGE 3

As the brain and blood continue to be deprived of circulating oxygen, cardiac arrest can occur. Some children will have a respiratory injury from inhaling water, but generally, those who have drowned don’t have lungs filled with water.

STAGE 4

When someone is pulled from the water, you have to reinstate the body’s response to need to breathe. When the brain has been deprived of oxygen, it has lost the sensation to know the body has to keep breathing. In CPR, the brain says, “Hello, there is blood coming to me,”Daltonsays. The amount of time underwater does not determine whether a child will live or die. The fate of the child depends on multiple factors, including how long he or she was without oxygen and whether the heart had stopped.

A final Oscar note -

I do not intend this safety information to alarm you. Instead, this article should make you more alert in your swimming and water activities and more confident about recognizing the possible threats to your water safety as well as to others.

Try to always swim in areas watched by qualified lifeguards and try to swim with a friend. DO NOT HESITATE to inform a lifeguard when someone appears to be in distress. If needed, INFORM the lifeguard to your and your children’s limitations.

BEING  SAFE  HELPS  ENSURE  YOUR  WATER  ACTIVITIES  WILL  BE  HAPPY  TIMES.

See you at the pool!

Tropical Weather Outlook
Nws National Hurricane Center Miami Fl
800 Pm Edt Mon Jun 6 2011
For The North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea And The Gulf Of Mexico...
 
A Large Low Pressure System With Associated Widespread Showers And
Thunderstorms Is Located Over The Northwestern Caribbean Sea About
125 Miles South-Southwest Of Grand Cayman. 
 
There Has Been Little Change Of This System During The Last 
Several Hours...And Upper-Level Winds Are Expected To Become 
Unfavorable For Development By Tomorrow. 

There Is A Medium Chance...40 Percent...Of This System 
Becoming A Tropical Cyclone During The Next 48 Hours. 

An Air Force Reserve Reconnaissance Aircraft Is Scheduled 
To Investigate The System Tomorrow Afternoon...If Necessary. 

Regardless Of Development...Heavy Rains Could Cause
Flash Floods And Mud Slides Over Portions Of Haiti...
Dominican Republic...Jamaica...And Cuba As The System 
Moves Slowly Toward The Northwest Or North During The 
Next Couple Of Days.

Elsewhere...Tropical Cyclone Formation Is Not Expected During The
Next 48 Hours.

Forecaster Landsea/Kimberlain

OSCAR NOTES –

 As we blogged 24 hours ago, the Caribbean tropical system had quite a few atmospheric features in its favor IF it could organize.

 Now, several features have turned against its chances of organization.

 One of the negative aspects we mentioned was a forecast of strong upper winds that would increase shear and rip apart building thunderstorm tops. That indeed is already happening even earlier than expected.

The ‘bursting’ pattern explained earlier has also been interrupted. This will prevent – for now – any organized infusion of additional energy for the tropical system.

The upper low to the northwest has gotten too close, and instead of ventilating (improving organization chances) the tropical system, the upper low is now adding shear and interfering with any organized circulation attempts.

The less than distinct center is south southwest of Grand Cayman Island (south of western Cuba), in the middle of the northwestCaribbean. It is forecast to drift basically north into the south central or southeast Gulf later this week but forecast models differ on whether it can organize to a significant degree.

Tropical Weather Outlook

Nws National Hurricane Center Miami Fl
200 Am Edt Mon Jun 6 2011
 
For The North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea And The Gulf Of Mexico...
 
A Large But Disorganized Area Of Disturbed Weather Associated With A
Broad Area Of Low Pressure Continues Over A Large Portion Of The
Central And Western Caribbean Sea. 
 
The Area Of Lowest Pressure Is Located About 175 Miles 
South Of Grand Cayman And Remains Separated From The 
Strongest Thunderstorm Activity. 
 
However...Some Development Of This System Is Possible 
During The Next Day Or So Before Upper-Level Winds 
Become Unfavorable. 
 
There Is A Medium Chance...40 Percent...Of This System 
Becoming A Tropical Cyclone During The Next 48 Hours. 
 
An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter Aircraft Is 
Scheduled To Investigate The System Later Today...If Necessary. 
 
Regardless Of Development... Heavy Rains Could Cause 
Flash Floods And Mud Slides Over Portions Of Haiti And J
amaica As The System Moves Slowly Toward The Northwest 
Or North Over The Next Couple Of Days.
 
Elsewhere...Tropical Cyclone Formation Is Not Expected 
During The Next 48 Hours.
 
Forecaster Avila

 

 (OSCAR NOTES – A few features have become evident over the last 12 to 24 hours.

 1st – the dry air entrained into the Caribbean tropical wave on Saturday (which increases disorganization) has for the most part been cut off. This is allowing the system to slowly become better organized with more uniformed humidity.

2nd – upper lows well to the northwest and to the northeast are ventilating this system. This improves the inflow and outflow mechanics of the system – i.e., improving its circulation features.

 3rd – a high pressure ridge is expected to slide from the Ohio River Valley to a position off the Virginia coast over the next 2 days. This will also provide a favorable outflow pattern at the upper levels of the Caribbean tropical wave.

 4th – a low pressure center has formed with this Caribbean tropical wave. Whether it’s at the mid levels or near the surface is yet to be determined (the scheduled Air Force recon flight Monday will find out).

 

5th – currently (around midnight Sunday into Monday morning), a ‘bursting’ cycle is occurring with the Caribbean tropical wave (just south of Jamaica). These bursting cycles are common with tropical waves that are trying to organize. The burst starts with a 6-10 hour rapid increase of a cluster of thunderstorms. This initial burst is usually followed by a rapid decrease of the same thunderstorms because the rising air cannot be removed fast enough. So, the storms collapse and ‘choke’ the system – at least for a while. These bursts provide energy allowing the tropical wave to grow IF the circulation features (inflow and outflow) improve.

 6th – Forecast negatives for development may be a forecast of increasing high level winds which would try to increase shear that is detrimental to tropical systems. Another negative – dry air nearby – would also limit development.

 We can only wait to see how this plays out.

 Oscar Fann  WTVY-TV  meteorologist)

Tropical Weather Outlook

Nws National Hurricane Center Miami Fl
800 Pm Edt Sun Jun 5 2011
 
For The North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea And The Gulf Of Mexico...
 
Shower And Thunderstorm Activity Has Changed Little Over The Past
Few Hours In Association With A Broad Low Pressure System Located
About 175 Miles West-Southwest Of Jamaica.  
 
While The Shower And Thunderstorm Activity Remains Concentrated
Mainly To The East Of The Area Of Lowest Surface Pressures...
Some Gradual Development Of This Large Disturbance Is Possible 
During The Next Day Or So Before Upper-Level Winds Become Less 
Favorable. 
 
There Is A Medium Chance ...40 Percent...Of This System 
Becoming A Tropical Cyclone During The Next 48 Hours. 
 
An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter Aircraft Is Scheduled 
To Investigate The System Monday Afternoon...If Necessary. 
 
Regardless Of Development...Heavy Rains Could Cause Flash 
Floods And Mud Slides Over Portions Of Haiti And Jamaica 
As The System Moves Slowly Toward The Northwest Or North 
Over The Next Couple Of Days.
 
Elsewhere...Tropical Cyclone Formation Is Not Expected 
During The Next 48 Hours.

Forecaster Brennan

 

(photo from Limestone county Alabama tornado Apr 27, courtesy of Decatur Daily)

Before I list a few web links to allow you to experience the gut wrenching stories of several survivors, I need to interject a few comments:

Many of the survivors either were unaware or ignored the fact that all there was a tornado warning in effect;

Most only acted when they saw or heard the actual tornado;

As I wrote in a post several weeks ago, if you ignore a tornado warning and act only WHEN you see or hear the tornado bearing down on you – then usually you ONLY HAVE 20 to 45 SECONDS BEFORE THE TORNADO IS GONE and the damage is done.

In fact, when you wait to see or hear the tornado before seeking safety, you may not reach your first choice of a safe shelter.

You are still likely to survive BUT your chances of being INJURED (slightly or severely) increase dramatically.

In fact, take note of the excellent account from the University of Alabama student Randy Robbins. He had SEVERAL personal warnings (phone/text) he disregarded from family and friends and admittedly, almost paid for it with his life.

Here are the survivors’ web links and let their painful experiences guide you.

1) 8-year-old pulled into tornado as his home is shredded -

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/05/01/year-old-gets-sucked-200mph-alabama-tornado-survives/

2) University of Alabama student blown out of his apartment and seriously injured -

http://blog.al.com/wire/2011/05/tuscaloosa_tornado_experience.html

(NOAA photo of Tuscaloosa tornado Apr 27 damage path – from lower left to upper right)

3) family in extreme north Alabama suffers fatalities from a series of tornadoes on the same day -

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42848701

4) high school baseball coach loses house but there’s good news -

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=6470969&type=story

Finally, here’s a photo of a tornado shredded neighborhood in Pratt City in Birmingham.

In front is an unscathed monument paying tribute to victims of a 1977 tornado that ripped through the same apartment complex.

 

The  severe weather outbreak in the south central and southeast U.S. from Thursday April 14 through Saturday April 16 is still being tallied. Rough estimates so far approach 225 tornadoes with 43 deaths (some deaths from strong winds toppling trees), but the tornado number usually comes down because of duplicate reports.

What I want to convey here is the suddenness of an approaching tornado, how fast it moves, and then it’s gone.

First, an overview. There are two types of supercell thunderstorms that primarily produce tornadoes. The first is the low precipitation supercell that is predominately found in the country’s midsection or Great Plains. The second is the high precipitation supercell predominately found east of the Mississippi River and especially in the Deep South.

However – with the right conditions, either can occur anywhere in areas subject to tornadic outbreaks.

As I mentioned, in the Deep South high precipitation supercells are usually the culprit.  That  means the tornado is rain wrapped (heavy rain with frequent vivid lightning surrounds the tornado) . More on that in a moment.

Interestingly, the recent tornadic outbreak in the southeast consisted either mainly of the other type – the low precipitation supercell. Or possibly, a brief hybrid tornadic supercell, in which characteristics of both types occurred as the supercell thunderstorm evolved. In other words, these tornadoes were not always rain wrapped – instead, rain, dust and /or debris preceded the tornado’s arrival.

Regardless, if you wait UNTIL you either see or hear the actual tornado BEFORE seeking shelter, odds still favor you surviving, BUT those same odds now favor the tornado injuring you (slightly or severely) – as well as your loved ones!

I will pass on survivor stories from the North Carolina tornadoes this past Saturday (Apr 16) in a moment, but first, here’s a time breakdown of a typical tornado that is heading straight toward your home.

I’ll use the typical Deep South setup (rain wrapped tornado), although I’ll bring in the other type also.

As a rain wrapped tornado bears down on where you are, several events will happen (by the way, if you are several hundred yards off to the side of the approaching tornado, chances are good that you will NOT see or heard the tornado – instead you continue to be pummeled with heavy rain):

Even though the tornado is surrounded by rain, there is still a ‘dry’ area immediately surrounding the actual tornado…so here is the progress of events -

1)  the heavy rain  (usually with frequent and often vivid lightning and thunder) quickly, or suddenly stops;

2) almost as quickly, a roaring sound grows (anything from intense low vibrations as with an approaching train to the sound of a low flying jet – which obviously would not be happening with a supercell storm);

3) sounds of limbs, windows breaking or objects slamming into the house or doors flying open;

4) rapid pressure drops (sinuses tightening or ears popping);

5) if the tornado is really close – then, dust filling the air quickly (you’re eyes will shut due to the sudden irritation).

Just as quickly, the tornado departs and the sequence continues:

6) the roaring sound ends abruptly (the sound is still out in front of the tornado, but sound frequency changes after the tornado passes);

7) the heavy rain (lightning and thunder) resumes quickly.

The TOTAL TIME ELAPSED from heavy rain stopping then resuming (tornado passage) is roughly 25 TO 45 SECONDS – that’s all  (the same with the other supercell type).

Now, courtesy of Emery P. Dalesio of the Associated Press and www.msnbc.msn.com. here are a few survival stories from the North Carolina tornadoes on Saturday April 16 -

(REMEMBER – ALL of these survivors WAITED UNTIL they either SAW OR HEARD the tornado BEFORE seeking shelter) :

1)  Jonathan Robinson saw the tornado moving toward his mobile home in Dunn, grabbed his cousin’s 3-month-old son and dashed for a closet in his bedroom. But as he dove for safety, the twister took his home apart around him and swept the baby into the dark, swirling afternoon sky.

“As soon as I jumped in the closet, it came down and that little baby flew out of my hand,” he said. “I seen him leave my arms. That’s how strong the wind was.”

Immediately after digging himself out, Robinson joined family members at the Cedar Creek Mobile Home Park frantically digging through the rubble all around them for little Ayden.

“I thought he was lost,” Robinson said.

Several long minutes later, someone found the boy under a wooden board, unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital, where miraculously emergency room workers found only minor injuries.

“He’s really blessed to be here right now,” said Ayden’s mom, Ciera Robinson, as the boy’s grandmother sat nearby giving the baby a bottle. “He’s good now. He ended up with a lump on his head. It wasn’t nothing major.”

2)  All John Lucas had left from his fight against the tornado was his door handle and part of the front door.

The roaring winds from Saturday’s tornado at the Cedar Creek Mobile Home Park ripped open his front door. As he grabbed the handle to close it back, the storm ripped the rest of the door away and collapsed the walls.

Buried under those walls, Lucas, 73, shouted for help and neighbors directed rescue workers his way. He was checked out at the hospital, but suffered just scrapes and bruises.

A decision Lucas made more than 30 years ago to fasten down his roof with three straps anchored three feet into the ground may have saved his life by keeping his home from flying apart like more than half of the 40 other houses in the park.

“I wasn’t hurt. I was just pinned down on the floor and couldn’t get out,” Lucas said. “According to what those people tell me, I’m a lucky man.”

3)   Neither Carolyn Troyon nor her husband Chuck knew what to do in a tornado because they had never seen one in their more than 70 years.

With the sky turning pitch black in the afternoon and winds howling, the two made it to the bathroom in their home near Clintonas quickly as they could. Hobbled by their age, they couldn’t get there before the front windows shattered, leaving Chuck Troyon with a deep gash on his forehead.

The house shook as they huddled in the bathroom. “I thought we were going to die. I thought this was it and I began praying,” Carolyn Troyon said.

Their son Rick, who lives beside them wasn’t home. A tree smashed through his house, and he spent most of the day cutting it apart.

“I was worried,” said Rick who drove as fast as he could as soon as he heard news of the tornado. “I didn’t know what happened. Not knowing was difficult.”

4)  Angelina McCaizie and her family never heard the warnings for the tornado that moved through the Stoney Brook Mobile Home Park, the same neighborhood where three people from the same family died about five miles north of downtownRaleigh.

She was cooking when the rain and wind started. Once she saw a branch fall past the window, she gathered up everyone in the home and they huddled in the kitchen.

“I got all my kids, my nephew, my brother, everybody, into one area in the kitchen and everybody just ducked down,” McCaizie said.

The storm passed quickly, and they scrambled outside to check for damage and see if their neighbors needed help. She saw several people bleeding and others with broken bones. McCaizie said someone ran up to her shouting, “Please help me! Please help me! I need 911.”

“It was horrible,” McCaizie said. “It was terrible.”

Again, ALL of these survivors WAITED until the either SAW or HEARD the tornado bearing down on them.

I’ll echo my earlier concerns -

IF YOU WAIT UNTIL YOU either SEE or HEAR the actual TORNADO BEFORE SEEKING SHELTER, odds still favor you surviving, but those same ODDS now FAVOR the TORNADO INJURING YOU (slightly or severely) – AS WELL AS YOUR LOVED ONES!

 

How cold?

In  the above illustration for the week Feb 7-14, 2011 in the contiguous United States, there were

655 Record Lows : 66 Record Highs.

Remember the heat wave this past summer in the Ukraine and western Russia, including Moscow?

This winter has been one of the coldest on record.

And look at England (the red arrow shows Dec 2010):

  The Central England Temperature record is one of the longest continuous temperature record in the world extending back to the Little Ice age in 1659. December 2010 was the coldest December in 120 years with an average of -0.7C just short of the record of -0.8C recorded in December 1890 and the Second Coldest December Temperature in the entire record (352 years).

(statistics compliments of icecap.us)

Feb 10, 2011

The Weather Isn’t Getting Weirder  

By Anne Jolis, The Wall Street Journal

Global-warming alarmists insist that economic activity is the problem, when the available evidence show it to be part of the solution. We may not be able to do anything about the weather, extreme or otherwise. But we can make sure we have the resources to deal with it when it comes.

Last week a severe storm froze Dallas under a sheet of ice, just in time to disrupt the plans of the tens of thousands of (American) football fans descending on the city for the Super Bowl.

On the other side of the globe, Cyclone Yasi slammed northeastern Australia, destroying homes and crops and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

Some climate alarmists would have us believe that these storms are yet another baleful consequence of man-made CO2 emissions. In addition to the latest weather events, they also point to recent cyclones in Burma, last winter’s fatal chills in Nepal and Bangladesh, December’s blizzards in Britain, and every other drought, typhoon and unseasonable heat wave around the world.

But is it true? To answer that question, you need to understand whether recent weather trends are extreme by historical standards. The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project is the latest attempt to find out, using super-computers to generate a dataset of global atmospheric circulation from 1871 to the present.

As it happens, the project’s initial findings, published last month, show no evidence of an intensifying weather trend. “In the climate models, the extremes get more extreme as we move into a doubled CO2 world in 100 years,” atmospheric scientist Gilbert Compo, one of the researchers on the project, tells me from his office at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “So we were surprised that none of the three major indices of climate variability that we used show a trend of increased circulation going back to 1871.”

In other words, researchers have yet to find evidence of more-extreme weather patterns over the period, contrary to what the models predict. “There’s no data-driven answer yet to the question of how human activity has affected extreme weather,” adds Roger Pielke Jr., another University of Colorado climate researcher.

Some climate alarmists claim that cyclones, such as Cyclone Yasi, are a result of man-made CO2 emissions.

We do know that carbon dioxide and other gases trap and re-radiate heat. We also know that humans have emitted ever-more of these gases since the Industrial Revolution. What we don’t know is exactly how sensitive the climate is to increases in these gases versus other possible factors-solar variability, oceanic currents, Pacific heating and cooling cycles, planets’ gravitational and magnetic oscillations, and so on.

Given the unknowns, it’s possible that even if we spend trillions of dollars, and forgo trillions more in future economic growth, to cut carbon emissions to pre-industrial levels, the climate will continue to change – as it always has.

That’s not to say we’re helpless. There is at least one climate lesson that we can draw from the recent weather: Whatever happens, prosperity and preparedness help. North Texas’s ice storm wreaked havoc and left hundreds of football fans stranded, cold, and angry. But thanks to modern infrastructure, 21st century health care, and stockpiles of magnesium chloride and snow plows, the storm caused no reported deaths and Dallas managed to host the big game on Sunday.

Compare that outcome to the 55 people who reportedly died of pneumonia, respiratory problems and other cold-related illnesses in Bangladesh and Nepal when temperatures dropped to just above freezing last winter. Even rich countries can be caught off guard: Witness the thousands stranded when Heathrow skimped on de-icing supplies and let five inches of snow ground flights for two days before Christmas. Britain’s GDP shrank by 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2010, for which the Office of National Statistics mostly blames “the bad weather.”

Arguably, global warming was a factor in that case. Or at least the idea of global warming was. The London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation charges that British authorities are so committed to the notion that Britain’s future will be warmer that they have failed to plan for winter storms that have hit the country three years running.

A sliver of the billions that British taxpayers spend on trying to control their climes could have bought them more of the supplies that helped Dallas recover more quickly. And, with a fraction of that sliver of prosperity, more Bangladeshis and Nepalis could have acquired the antibiotics and respirators to survive their cold spell.

A comparison of cyclones Yasi and Nargis tells a similar story: As devastating as Yasi has been, Australia’s infrastructure, medicine, and emergency protocols meant the Category 5 storm has killed only one person so far. Australians are now mulling all the ways they could have better protected their property and economy.

But if they feel like counting their blessings, they need only look to the similar cyclone that hit the Irrawaddy Delta in 2008. Burma’s military regime hadn’t allowed for much of an economy before the cyclone, but Nargis destroyed nearly all the Delta had. Afterwards, the junta blocked foreign aid workers from delivering needed water purification and medical supplies. In the end, Rangoon let Nargis kill more than 130,000 people.

Global-warming alarmists insist that economic activity is the problem, when the available evidence show it to be part of the solution. We may not be able to do anything about the weather, extreme or otherwise. But we can make sure we have the resources to deal with it when it comes.

Miss Jolis is an editorial page writer for The Wall Street Journal Europe.

This winter is on track to become the coldest for the nation as a whole since the 1980s or possibly even the late 1970s.

According to AccuWeather.com Chief Long Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi, three or four out of the next five winters could be just as cold, if not colder.

He is worried that next winter, for example, will be colder than this one.

Bastardi adds that with the U.S. in the middle of one of its worst recessions in its history and the price of oil in question, he is extremely concerned about the prospect for more persistent cold weather in the coming years putting increased financial hardship on Americans.

“Cold is a lot worse than warm,” Bastardi said, “and that’s why your energy bill goes up during the winter time: because of the fact that it takes a lot to heat a house.”

While there are many different factors that are playing into Bastardi’s forecast, one of the primary drivers is La Nina and the trends that have been observed in winters that follow the onset of a La Nina.

Current La Nina Signals More Cold Winters Ahead

La Nina occurs when sea surface temperatures across the equatorial central and eastern Pacific are below normal.

La Nina and its counterpart, El Nino, which occurs when sea surface temperatures of the same region are above normal, have a large influence on the weather patterns that set up across the globe.

The current La Nina, which kicked in this past summer, is unprecedented after becoming the strongest on record in December 2010.

Bastardi thinks this La Nina will last into next year, though it will be weaker, and will not disappear completely until 2012.

According to Bastardi, studies over the past 100 years or so show that after the first winter following the onset of a La Nina, the next several winters thereafter tend to be colder than normal in the U.S.

He says the first winter during a La Nina tends to be warm. The next winter that follows is usually less warm, and the winter after that is usually cold.

“There’s a natural tendency for that to happen because of the large-scale factors,” Bastardi commented. “What’s interesting about what we’re seeing here is that [the current La Nina] is starting so cold.”

Temperatures this winter so far are averaging below normal across much of the eastern two-thirds of the country.

He adds, “If the past predicts the future, then the first year La Nina is warmer than the combination of the following two.”

He said that with the exception of the winters of 1916-1917 and 1917-1918, the first year of every moderate or stronger La Nina available for study has featured a warmer-than-normal winter from the Plains eastward.

This winter, it has been colder than normal.

Taking a look at one of the exceptions, the La Nina winter of 1916-1917, colder-than-normal conditions were observed across the northern part of the Plains and East (not the South).

Bastardi said that never before have colder-than-normal conditions been observed across the South during a first-year La Nina winter, as has been the case this winter.

If this winter, which has been colder than normal across the eastern two-thirds of the country, is historically supposed to be the warmest of the next three winters for the U.S., according to Bastardi, we have some frigid times ahead.

Bastardi: Shift to Colder Climate Predicted Next 20-30 Years

Bastardi thinks that not only will the next few winters be colder than normal for much of the U.S., but that the long-term climate will turn colder over the next 20 to 30 years.

“What’s interesting about what we’re seeing here is that [the current La Nina] is starting so cold,” said Bastardi, “and it’s coinciding with bigger things that are pushing the overall weather patterns and climate in the Northern Hemisphere and, in fact, globally over the next 20 to 30 years that we have not really dealt with, nor can we really quantify.”

“That ties into a lot of this arguing over climate change,” he added.

Bastardi has pointed out that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), which is a pattern of Pacific climate variability that shifts phases usually about every 20 to 30 years, has shifted into a “cold” or “negative” phase.

Over the past 30 years or so, according to Bastardi, the PDO has been “warm” or “positive.”

This change to a cold PDO over the next 20 to 30 years, he says, will cause La Ninas to be stronger and longer than El Ninos.

Bastardi adds that when El Ninos do kick in, if they try to come on strong like they did last year, they will get “beaten back” pretty quickly.

As House leaders examine ways to cut spending and address the ever growing budget deficits that have plagued Washington for years, U.S. Representatives Bill Posey (R-FL), Sandy Adams (R-FL) and Rob Bishop (R-UT) were joined by several other of their colleagues in calling for a reprioritization of NASA so human space flight remains the primary focus of the nation’s space agency as budget cuts are considered.

In their recent letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA), Posey, Adams and Bishop state that while “moving forward under a constrained budget, it will be critical for the Appropriations Committee to produce legislation that is precise in its budget cuts.

For years, Presidents and Congress have charged NASA with completing tasks that fall outside the scope of NASA’s primary mission.

“Our space program attracts and inspires the world’s greatest minds and gives our young people inspiration to excel in math and science.

“Human spaceflight, however, is not simply a matter of national prestige. Our nation’s ability to access space is a critical national security asset and plays an important role in our future economic competitiveness.

“Space is the ultimate high ground and nations such as China, Russia, and India are anxious to seize the mantle of space supremacy should we decide to cede it.”

“Limited resources force us to make important decisions with regard to the objectives of all federal departments and agencies, including NASA,” said Representative Bill Posey (R-FL).

“NASA’s primary purpose is human space exploration and directing NASA funds to study global warming undermines our ability to maintain our competitive edge in human space flight.

“As NASA’s human spaceflight program hangs in the balance, it is imperative that we ask ourselves: What is the future of NASA?”

“With the current administration unable or unwilling to outline a plan or stick to their original promises, it is time to refocus NASA’s mission towards space exploration,” said Representative Sandy Adams (R-FL).

“That is why I am encouraging Chairmen Rogers and Wolf to reduce funding for climate change research, which undercuts one of NASA’s primary and most important objectives of human spaceflight.”

“It is counterintuitive to direct millions of dollars to NASA for duplicative climate change programs and at the same time cancel its manned space flight program- the purpose for which the agency was originally created.

“Far too many forget that at one time in our nation’s history we were losing the space race. With the creation of NASA, we emerged as leaders and have remained so ever since.”

“If NASA’s manned space program disappears, our nation will once again experience a ‘Sputnik Moment.’ Our country will again watch from the sidelines as countries like Russia, China and India charge ahead as leaders in space exploration and missile defense,” said Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT).

“In Fiscal Year 2010, NASA spent over 7.5% –over a billion dollars– of its budget on studying global warming/climate change. The bulk of the funds NASA received in the stimulus went toward climate change studies.

“Excessive growth of climate change research has not been limited to NASA. Overall, the government spent over $8.7 billion across 16 Agencies and Departments throughout the federal government on these efforts in FY 2010 alone. Global warming funding presents an opportunity to reduce spending without unduly impacting NASA’s core human spaceflight mission.”

By Pam Knox, University of Georgia       southeastfarmpress.com

Feb. 8, 2011 7:44am

Cold temperatures and heavy snow crippled north Georgia in January.

Despite heavier-than-normal snowfall, precipitation amounts were below normal, increasing drought conditions across the state.

Georgia’s temperature was significantly below normal last month.

In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 40.2 degrees F (2.5 degrees below normal), in Athens 39.7 degrees (2.5 degrees below normal), Columbus 43.6 degrees (3.2 degrees below normal), Macon 42 degrees (3.5 degrees below normal), Savannah 45.1 degrees (4.1 degrees below normal), Brunswick 49.1 degrees (2.6 degrees below normal), Alma 44.9 degrees (6.8 degrees below normal), Valdosta 47.3 degrees (2.6 degrees below normal) and Augusta 41.7 degrees (3.1 degrees below normal).

If colder-than-normal temperatures continue into February, this winter could possibly set records for the coldest winter ever in some parts of Georgia.

Record low temperatures were set at Macon, Savannah and Alma Jan. 14.

Macon reported 16 degrees, breaking the old record of 19 degrees set that date in 1970. Savannah and Alma reported 18 degrees, surpassing the old records of 20 degrees set at both locations in 1964.

Kirk Myers

Seminole County Environmental News Examiner

January 15th, 2010 6:27 pm ET

 Scientists have spent decades blaming C02 for global warming while giving the sun a free pass.

Clmate experts, politicians, environmentalists and assorted green organizations have been beating the daylight out of CO2 for decades, charging it with a litany of crimes against Mother Earth – heating the atmosphere, melting ice caps, raising sea levels, acidifying oceans, driving polar bears to extinction and generally making a mess of things on the planet.

As the hobgoblin of the green movement, CO2 has taken it on the atmospheric chin. But what if CO2 had its own atmospheric lobby and could fight back? Perhaps we might see a story like this one in the news.

***

ORLANDO, Fla.Faced with growing criticism, the CO2-molecule lobby said today that it will no longer take the heat for earth’s climate change, and has launched a campaign to restore its blackened reputation.

“It’s time to clear the air about the benefits of CO2,” announced chairman Nate Carbo at today’s Alliance of CO2 Molecules (ACO2M) tropospheric conference held high above Walt Disney Resort. “CO2 molecules have been the climate fall guy for years. We’ve been unfairly charged with crimes against humanity. Now we’re going to fight back with all our molecular energy.”

Chairman Carbo said ACO2M’s executive panel has drawn up a list of grievances that it will send this week to CO2 critics at the White House, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), EPA, Climate Research Unit (CRU), NASA, Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) and major environmental organizations. A copy of the preliminary draft, received earlier today, makes the following 10 demands:

1. Stop calling CO2 molecules a pollutant – Plants depend on CO2, and they’ve been CO2-undernourished since the Jurassic period (an era plants refer to as “photosynthesis heaven”) when our molecular presence was nearly five times higher than current levels. Not surprisingly, the CO2-famished plants of today are green with envy. (Note: The world’s plant life is solidly behind our organization in backing this demand. They’ve given ACO2M the power of attorney to represent all earth vegetation in a lawsuit against Carol Browner and the scientists at the EPA, which recently declared CO2 a pollutant.)

2. Tell Michael Mann to shut up – There is no hockey stick-shaped warming in the atmosphere (in fact, the earth is cooling now), and if there was, it wouldn’t be CO2’s fault. Why don’t you blame the sun for a change? We CO2 molecules have been around this earth long enough to remember the gloriously comfortable days of the Roman Warm Era and Medieval Warm Period – a time when there were no cars, factories and power plants. Back then, humans were growing vineyards in England and raising crops in Greenland. Now their descendants want a one-way ticket to the beaches in Rio. We don’t deserve credit or blame for climate change.

3. End discrimination – CO2 is the whipping boy for every major climate disaster. We get blamed when it’s hot and screamed at when it’s cold. But the big yellow ball in the sky never takes the heat. Why? We CO2 molecules get our hind atoms scorched every time the sun spews another sunspot or solar flare. But, oh no, it’s always CO2 gas that gets fingered for imaginary global warming. Please look at the blast furnace overhead for a change.

4. Quit passing the buck – Frankly, we CO2 molecules feel betrayed. Not all of us emanate from cars, factories and burning wood piles. Many of us are sent on our tropospheric journey when humans breathe. Humans are breathing CO2 factories, but you never want to acknowledge your gaseous contribution. So if you’re truly serious about reducing the percentage of CO2 molecules, stop breathing and talking. (We’ve discovered, by the way, that CO2 emissions – and our molecular numbers – rise dramatically whenever Chicken Little eco-dummies like Al Gore take the microphone.)

5. Apologize to trees and other vegetation – Most of you spend lots of time and money tending your garden, caring for plants, trimming trees and manicuring your lawn. Your yard is a source of pride, and you brag about it to neighbors. So why in Heaven do you want to reduce its precious CO2 supply – nature’s sustenance? Shame on you! If you discover a brown patch in your St. Augustine tomorrow, consider it payback.

6. Urge Al Gore to take an oath of silence – The former VP is a charlatan and disgrace. All his flashy multimedia presentations cast us as some sort of global warming satan. But our molecular membership has never been responsible for rising temperatures. Look carefully at CO2 and temperature charts. When you superimpose them, you’ll find CO2 shuffling along hundreds of years after temperatures have risen. No wonder the enemies of CO2 show the charts separately. Telling the truth is just too inconvenient. (Note: Some of our normally friendly gas molecules want to lock Gore in a greenhouse for 30 days. But we warned them it might trigger a plant protest.)

7. Stop ignoring water vapor – We hate to rain on your parade, but water vapor is by far the most abundant greenhouse gas. Yet it rarely gets mentioned in all the sky-is-falling rhetoric about global warming. At slightly less than four percent, CO2 is the small fry on the greenhouse-gas scale, along with methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and a few other trace gases. The big Kahuna, water vapor, is responsible for 95 percent of the greenhouse effect, and keeps your climate cozy and warm. Without its insulating effects, life on earth would be unbearably cold. We’d like to see you try to ban water vapor!

8. Stop fudging data – We’ve had to watch from afar as Professor Phil Jones, Dr. Michael Mann and other so-called climate scientists have manipulated temperature data to make CO2 look like the most harmful molecule on the planet. After reading a few of their CRU e-mails, we now know that they’ve warmed the earth more with their cooked research and phony models then we could ever do as a lowly CO2 gas. They’ve done a great disservice to plant life on earth with their incessant attacks on a blameless group of molecules whose atmospheric presence is a piddly 385 parts per million. If these hucksters truly desire redemption, they should shut up about climate change and exhale frequently for the good of the redwoods.

9. Protect earth’s food supply – When it comes to sustaining life, we CO2 molecules are high on the list of essential gases. If you succeed in carrying out your CO2 ethnic cleansing plan, you’ll hurt all vegetation. (Trees and plants don’t react well when deprived of their favorite atmospheric meal.) A CO2-depleted world will stunt plant growth, reduce crop yields and lead to famine and starvation. You want that on your tree-hugging green conscience?

10. Listen to honest scientists – Most of the climate experts predicting greenhouse doom are either on the government payroll, knee-deep in research grants or supplying the scientific rationale behind legislation designed to extort money from consumers in the form of carbon taxes. They have a vested interest in scaring the bejeebers out of people about the wickedness of the CO2 molecule – one of the most good-natured elements in the atmosphere. Their gloomy forecasts and high drama are full of hot air – pure junk science. They should be out on the street looking for work instead of receiving awards and more grant money.

The CO2 Alliance’s list of demands is not open to negotiation, said Greta Carbo, president of the League of Carbon Dioxide, a CO2-friendly lobby group with close ties to AC20M. In her opening speech last night, she called the anti-CO2 movement “dangerously extreme” and “a threat to all life on earth.” She said her group expects a White House response to its demands by early next week.

“We’ve stood by for decades while pseudo-scientists, self-serving politicians and the hysterical green movement bad-mouthed earth-friendly CO2 molecules for simply floating around and minding their own business. We’re tired of the fright-mongering. It’s time to set the record straight.”

ACO2M’s executive panel also announced today that it has scheduled talks next week with the Organization for the Protection of Plant Life on Earth (OPPLE) to discuss ways to counter the eco-alarmists’ anti-CO2 message and educate humans about the many benefits of carbon dioxide.

“This is serious business. We need to expose the lies, hysterics and rigged climate models driving the greenhouse scare campaign. Humans need to hear the truth about CO2. Their lives, and their children’s lives, depend on it,” Carbo said.

First, this remark from the Tallahassee National Weather Service on Tuesday Feb 1:

“Even With The Significant Warmup During The Past Few Days Of January…The Average Monthly Temperature In Tallahassee (Tlh) Only Rose To 46.6 Degrees.

Click here to find out more! “This Mark Ties Jan. 2011 As The 10th All Time Coldest January Which Also Occurred In 1958.

 

“Also Of Note Is That This Is The First Time In Periods Of Record That
Consecutive Months Of December And January Have Both Been In The Top 10 Of Their Respective Coldest Months.”

Even though Dothan’s weather records are incomplete, it would follow that a similar December and January occurred here with regards to temperature.

For now, it looks like cold temperatures are in and out of the WTVY-TV area over the next 2 to 3 weeks – but NOT the consistently cold pattern we saw for most of December and January.

There are 3 other pieces of good news;

1) rain chances and amounts look to be ABOVE average for the next 2 to 3 weeks;

2) days with low temperatures BELOW freezing appear to be few and fading fast after next week;

3) a pronounced turn to a noticeably warmer pattern for the Deep South is showing up in the upper air pattern (the steering currents) by the last 7 to 10 days of February.

Obviously, cold weather remains a threat through most of March into early April, BUT a period of extended mild weather would be MOST welcomed by many!

January 31st, 2011 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.       (via CLIMATE DEPOT.com)

I really can’t decide whether I should hate Al Gore… or thank him for giving me something to write about.

He has caused the spread of more pseudo-scientific incompetence on the subject of global warming (I’m sorry — climate change) than any climate scientist could possibly have ever accomplished. Who else but a politician could spin so much certainty out of a theory?

As someone who has lived and breathed meteorology and climate for 40 years now, I can assure you that this winter’s storminess in the little 2% patch of the Earth we like to call the ‘United States of America’ has nothing to do with your SUV.

Natural climate variability? Maybe.

But I would more likely chalk it up to something we used to call “WEATHER”.

Let me give you a few factoids:

1) No serious climate researcher — including the ones I disagree with — believes global warming can cause colder weather. Unless they have become delusional as a result of some sort of mental illness. One of the hallmarks of global warming theory is LESS extratropical cyclone activity — not more.

2) If some small region of the Earth is experiencing unusually persistent storminess, you can bet some other region is experiencing unusually quiet weather. You see, in the winter we get these things called ’storm tracks’….

3) Evidence for point #2 is that we now have many years of global satellite measurements of precipitation which shows that the annual amount of precipitation that falls on the Earth stays remarkably constant from year to year. The AREAS where it occurs just happen to move around a whole lot. Again, we used to call that “weather”.

4) Global average temperature anomalies (departures from seasonal norms) have been falling precipitously for about 12 months now. Gee, maybe these snowstorms are from global cooling! Someone should look into that! (I know…cold and snow from global cooling sounds crazy….I’m just sayin’….)

I could go on and on.

Now, I know I’m not going to change the minds of any of the True Believers…those who read all of Reverend Al’s sermons, and say things like, “You know, global warming can mean warmer OR colder, wetter OR drier, cloudier OR sunnier, windier OR calmer, …”. Can I get an ‘amen’??

But I hope I can still save a few of those out there who are still capable of independent reasoning and thought.

NOW can I go to bed?

Three different rain episodes are headed our way by Friday Feb 4.

The first is ongoing and is mostly light rain with little chance of thunder. It will end early Monday with mild weather hanging around through Tuesday.

The second episode will have the highest potential for heavier rains and possible thunderstorms. That begins either late Tuesday afternoon or more likely Tuesday evening, ending by midday Wednesday.

Thunderstorms that may be strong to severe in Louisiana and Mississippi earlier Tuesday are expected to weaken by the time they arrive in the WTVY-TV viewing area later Tuesday.

A cold front moves through the area Wednesday but stalls in the central Gulf.

The third rain episode occurs as a low develops on the stalled front and brings rain back to the area Thursday afternoon through Friday morning.

It will be a cold rain with highs only in the 40s on Thursday In fact, areas from Laverne – Troy – Eufaula northward may have a mix of frozen precipitation.

The 1st episode has the lightest rain (average 0.25″); the 2nd has the heaviest rain (average 1.0-1.5″); and the 3rd episode in between (average 0.50″).

In all, the weekly totals should be around 1.5 to 3.0 inches – great potential to dent the drought!

Martha and Connor will have the latest as we go through the week.

Oh, by the way, for now the upcoming weekend looks dry and sunny but cool, not cold.

Meanwhile, take a tip from the following photo, stay dry and wait it out.

12 am Monday Update

Latest warnings and advisories:

…WINTER STORM WARNING in effect for the Dothan area south to the Alabama – Florida line until 8am cst Monday…

…ICE STORM WARNING for Alabama counties south of I-20 (Birmingham) extending south to and including Pike and Barbour counties through midday Monday…

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for Covington and Crenshaw counties until 6am cst Monday.

…No winter weather warnings / advisories for the Florida panhandle or for the Georgia counties bordering Florida. GALE WARNING for coastal waters until 6 am cst Monday.

The Mobile National Weather Service has ended its ice storm warnings for its southeastern Mississippi counties and has changed such warnings for its Alabama counties to Winter Weather Advisories.

What we are seeing FOR NOW is a lessening BUT NOT an ending to the freezing rain threat for the Dothan area and neighboring Alabama and Georgia counties.

Critical temperatures will be reached later this early morning, but will there be enough moisture to create icy problems for bridges, overpasses, power lines and branches?

We have to erred on the cautious side for now, so please curtail unnecessary travel until mid morning, or until it becomes evident that the icing threat has ended.

AGAIN, the FREEZING RAIN POTENTIAL STILL EXISTS for the Dothan vicinity.

6pm cst Sunday update…

No significant changes for now..snow continues north of Birmingham…thin band of mixed frozen precipitation across central Alabama between Birningham and Montgomery with rain south.

However, evaporational cooling and warm air aloft will lead to an expanding area of a freezing rain mix across central Alabama later this evening. As we mentioned earlier, maximum icing is expected along a line running east from Demopolis to Selma to just north of Montgomery to Auburn into central Georgia. Roughly 50 miles north and south of that line could also experience significant icing (that includes Crenshaw, Pike and Barbour counties in our area).

The occasional light sleet currently being reported from several areas around Dothan (including the Florida panhandle) does NOT represent an icing problem. Surface temperatures are well above freezing and the sleet is already melting as it reaches the surface.

Again, the THREAT of freezing rain (which WILL freeze upon contact with surface objects – mainly bridges, overpasses, power lines and branches) for the Dothan area is after midnight until mid morning Monday – especially 3am to 7am cst.

4:15pm cst Sunday Update…

Light rain is reaching the ground with occasional melting sleet. Again, this is NOT an icing problem, and no icing on bridges, overpasses, power lines or trees is expected for the Dothan area until after midnight – likely before midnight in Crenshaw, Pike and Barbour counties.

Quick 3pm cst Sunday Update..

As expected the WINTER STORM WATCH has been upgraded to a WINTER STORM WARNING for Houston, Henry, Dale, Coffee, Geneva counties in Alabama; and for Early, Miller, Clay and Quitman counties in Georgia.

No other changes to the information previosly listed below.

More later…

UPDATED 10am cst Sunday…
A few minor adjustments since I first wrote the accompanying weather outlook earlier this morning around 1 am cst…

Currently, radar shows virga (very light precipitation evaporating well before it reaches the ground) to the west and north of Dothan.

However, it looks now like the precipitation will not arrive until this evening for Dothan (sooner to the west, later to the east).

The Birmingham National Weather Service Office has upgraded their WINTER STORM WARNING to an ICE STORM WARNING for their counties south of I-20, which includes Pike and Barbour counties (and Mobile’s National Weather Service has upgraded Crenshaw county to an ICE STORM WARNING also).

This follows my breakdown (see SETUP below) of where freezing rain is most likely (south of Birmingham to just nothwest and north of Dothan). Again, the area (for now) at highest risk from freezing rain is the central part of the state (say 50 miles north and south of a line from Demopolis to Selma to Montgomery to Auburn east into Georgia.

HOWEVER, freezing rain is likely to occur just about anywhere in Alabama Sunday night into Monday morning – including Dothan. The question remains – just how much?

The Mobile National Weather Service which forecasts for Covington county in our area plans to upgrade that WINTER STORM WATCH to a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY.

The Tallahassee Natioal Weather service which has forcast responsibility for everyone else in the WTVY-TV area will hold off any changes to the current WINTER STORM WATCH until later this afternoon.

Remember, the forecast (such as the track of the Gulf low) may vary slightly which would alter the forecast, so stay informed.

 Otherwise, the following information still applies,

 (end of update)
(1am cst Sunday post follows)

A WINTER STORM WARNING is in effect from late Sunday afternoon through Monday morning for north and central Alabama south to and including Pike (Troy, Brundidge) and Barbour (Clayton, Eufaula) counties.

Crenshaw (Luverne, Brantley) and northern Covington (south to Andalusia) counties are likely to be added to this WARNING Sunday morning.

A WINTER STORM WATCH remains in effect for Sunday night through Monday morning for the remaining southern Alabama counties (Houston, Coffee, Dale, Henry and Geneva). Also included in this Watch are the southwestern Georgia counties of Early, Miller, Clay and Quitman.

It is likely that these counties in the Watch also will be upgraded to a WINTER STORM WARNING for the same time period.

A mix of rain with freezing rain is likely for the Dothan area from after midnight Sunday to mid morning Monday.

The question is how much ice potential is there?

There is very cold dry arctic air centered well north of Alabama in the Ohio area.

In addition, a low will move across the northern Gulf throwing moisture into that cold air later Sunday afternoon into late Monday morning. This Gulf low will be south of Dothan late Sunday evening and exit to the east near the Atlantic coast near the Georgia/Florida line by late Monday morning.

Forecasts have shown a trend that enough of that cold, dry air will filter into Alabama and Georgia south to Florida to create frozen precipitation state wide – especially Sunday night into Monday.

If the track of the low moves farther to the south, then Dothan would see more icing potential. If the track of the Gulf low strays slightly northward, then there is less of an icing problem for Dothan.

For now, this appears to be the SETUP:
3-6 inches of mainly snow is favored from north of a line from Birmingham to Atlanta (along I-20);

South of that line to a 2nd line running east from Demopolis to Selma to just north of Montgomery and through Auburn into Georgia will see possibly 2-3 inches of snow mixed with freezing rain. This looks to be a major travel problem area Sunday evening through the day Monday;

The area between that 2nd line south to a 3rd line running east from Luverne to Troy to Eufaula may have a signficant amount of freezing rain as well as small snow acumulations. This area also has the potential to have significant travel problems Sunday evening into midday Monday;

South of the 3rd line to a 4th line running west to east from Opp to Dothan to Blakely in Georgia has the potential for freezing rain and icing but not to the degree areas north of Dothan in central Alabama will encounter.

Monday morning low temperatures for Dothan should be around 32 to 33 degrees.

However, some travel problems are possible in the Dothan area  – especially with bridges and overpasses through mid morning Monday;

South of Dothan to the Florida line has the potential for more isolated icing problems.

On Sunday as rain develops late afternoon / evening from the west of Dothan and moves east into this area, there could be some sleet mixed but no icing problems are expected into early Sunday evening).

Only rain is expected for the Florida panhandle and the southwestern Georgia counties bordering Florida with possible thunder near the coast.

The time frame of concern for the Dothan area for a mix of rain and freezing rain would be after midnight Sunday to just after sunrise Monday.

In and around Dothan (and especially northwest and north of Dothan) as mentioned earlier, a primary concern would be icy spots on bridges and overpasses through mid morning Monday. Also, power outages could occur if enough freezing rain coats power lines or tree branches that fall on power lines.

In short, it would not be a good idea to be driving northwest or north of Dothan after 4 pm cst Sunday afternoon.

For Dothan it would not a good idea to be on area roads from after midnight Sunday/Monday though mid morning Monday.

IF YOU HAVE TO TRAVEL at that time, carry a CHARGED cell phone, blankets, fresh water and a working flashlight in case you are stranded.

 Monday morning lows will be near freezing for Dothan but below freezing north of Dothan.

IMPORTANT – there may be changes in the forecast so stay informed.

National Weather Service Tallahassee Fl
315 Am Est Sat Jan 1 2011

At The Official Observation Point In Tallahassee (Tlh)…This Was
The Coldest December On Record…And Was Also The Third Coldest
Month Of All Time…

This arriving shot of arctic air won’t be quite as cold as two weeks ago – but it will be close.

Saturday may have some sunshine around dawn, but clouds will quickly cover the skies.

The high temperature (near 53, possibly lower with more clouds ) looks to be reached around midday.

Winds will be light out of the south southwest early, shifting to the west mid morning 4-9 mph.

By midday northwest winds will take over and increase during the afternoon to 7-14 mph, increasing to near 20 mph during the evening.

Temperatures will fall quickly into the 40s during the afternoon and into the 30s later in the evening.

Light rain develops during the afternoon (sooner to the west & northwest) and would be steady at times.

From around 10 pm to 2 am there will be a chance of a rain/snow mix or even light snow developing in the colder air arriving.

Slight snow accumulations (1 inch or less) are possible northwest & north of Dothan – especially toward Luverne, Brantley, Troy, Abbeville, Eufaula and Blakely, Georgia.

A trace or slight dusting of snow is possible south to the Florida line.

Precipitation (except for non accumulating light flurries) should end by 3-4 am, and increasing winds should blow most roads dry quickly.

Also, surface temperatures are not expected to fall to freezing until 4 am (expect freezing temperatures earlier west, northwest and north of Dothan).

However, if traveling early Sunday morning (especially west and north of Dothan), BE CAUTIOUS!

WIND ADVISORIES may be needed overnight Saturday thru Sunday.
HARD FREEZES are likely Monday & Tuesday mornings.

A brief overview of Sunday – Wednesday;
Sunday – Clearing, very cold and windy..AM Low 30, High 41
Monday – Sunny, breezy early, cold..AM Low 23, High 46
Tuesday – Sunny, not as cold..AM Low 25, High 52
Wednesday – Partly cloudy..AM Low 28, High 60
(warmer through the weekend).

Along the coast, a SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY is in effect Saturday afternoon to Monday morning. Also, a GALE WATCH is in effect Saturday evening thru Sunday evening.

Remember how you prepared two weeks ago (People, Pets, Pipes and Plants) and stay warm.

More on the weather Christmas night at 6 & 10 on WTVY-TV.

Oh, I hope you have a MERRY CHRISTMAS! and the best of holidays.

What may be the coldest air for the entire winter is arriving  in the area today Sunday.

The lowest temperature will occur Tuesday morning, but during both Monday and Wednesday mornings the low temperatures will be almost as cold. HARD FREEZES are expected all three mornings.

However, WIND CHILLS will make you feel even colder Sunday night through much of Monday.

WIND CHILLS:
in the 30s late Sunday morning into the afternoon;
in the 20s late Sunday afternoon into Sunday evening;
in the teens Sunday night (possibly single digit wind chills late);
in the teens early Monday morning;
in the 20s much of Monday daytime.

Please take note of the following cold weather tips.

Be careful how you heat your home – do NOT use outdoor grills or your indoor oven or stove to heat the inside of your house. Watch where you put your portable heaters (keep them away from furniture, curtains, small children and pets).

Try to check on any elderly people who may not have enough heat.

Provide proper care for your pets – such as a shelter from the wind (WIND CHILL affects them too) and provide fresh unfrozen water with plenty of fresh food.

If you have extra heaters, blankets or towels, consider donating them to area human or pet shelters.

If you have outdoor Christmas or holiday decorations, SECURE them from the high winds (possibly gusting above 30 mph) expected on Sunday and Monday.

If low temperatures fall to near 20 degrees, shallow bodies of water would likely have a shallow ice layer on top. This ice could attract small children and pets and possibly lead to tragic consequences. BE ALERT to this possibility.

Consider allowing your inside cold water faucets to drip on those nights that outside temperatures are expected to fall below 26 degrees.

The weather will warm into the 60s by Thursday, but until then, BE CAUTIOUS and SAFE.

More on the arctic outbreak on the Sunday night WTVY-TV news.

- Oscar Fann

First, the facts: the late evening update on Tropical Storm Paula…

The satellite image on top is from late Monday afternoon, and the second image is from Monday mid evening. Note the more northward position from image 1 to image 2. Paula is expected to move in a slow semicircle as it is too far south (for now) to be pulled north out of the Caribbean (see current projected path below).

Paula looks like it’s going to hang around the Caribbean for a few days.

Here’s the late evening advisory and discussion:

Tropical Storm Paula Advisory Number   2
Nws Tpc/National Hurricane Center Miami Fl
1100 Pm Edt Mon Oct 11 2010

...Paula Continues To Strengthen...Expected To Become A Hurricane
Soon...

Summary Of 1100 Pm Edt...0300 Utc...Information
-----------------------------------------------
Location...16.8n 84.6w
About 90 Mi...140 Km Ene Of Isla Guanaja Honduras
About 295 Mi...475 Km Sse Of Cozumel Mexico
Maximum Sustained Winds...70 Mph...110 Km/Hr
Present Movement...Nw Or 315 Degrees At 10 Mph...17 Km/Hr
Minimum Central Pressure...994 Mb...29.35 Inches

Watches And Warnings
--------------------
Changes With This Advisory...

The Government Of Mexico Has Extended The Hurricane Warning
Northward To Cabo Catoche.  A Tropical Storm Warning Has Been
Issued For The North Coast Of The Yucatan Peninsula From West Of
Cabo Catoche Westward To San Felipe.

Summary Of Watches And Warnings In Effect...

A Hurricane Warning Is In Effect For...
* The Coast Of Mexico From Punta Gruesa Northward To Cabo Catoche...
Including Cozumel

A Tropical Storm Warning Is In Effect For...
* The Coast Of Honduras From Limon Eastward To The
Honduras/Nicaragua Border...Including The Bay Islands
* The Coast Of Mexico From Chetumal Northward To South Of Punta
Gruesa
* The Coast Of Mexico From Cabo Catoche To San Felipe

A Tropical Storm Watch Is In Effect For...
* The Coast Of Belize

A Hurricane Warning Means That Hurricane Conditions Are Expected
Somewhere Within The Warning Area...In This Case 24 To 36 Hours
Before The Anticipated First Occurrence Of Tropical-Storm-Force
Winds...Conditions That Make Outside Preparations Difficult Or
Dangerous. Preparations To Protect Life And Property Should Be
Rushed To Completion.

A Tropical Storm Warning Means That Tropical Storm Conditions Are
Expected In The Warning Area In Honduras Tonight...And That Tropical
Storm Conditions Are Expected Somewhere Within The Warning Area In
Mexico Within 24 To 36 Hours.

A Tropical Storm Watch Means That Tropical Storm Conditions Are
Possible Within The Watch Area...In This Case Within The Next 24
To 36 Hours.

For Storm Information Specific To Your Area...Please Monitor
Products Issued By Your National Meteorological Service.

Discussion And 48-Hour Outlook
------------------------------
At 1100 Pm Edt...0300 Utc...The Center Of Tropical Storm Paula Was
Located Near Latitude 16.8 North...Longitude 84.6 West. Paula Is
Moving Toward The Northwest Near 10 Mph...17 Km/Hr.  A Turn Toward
The North-Northwest And Then Toward The North Is Expected Late
Tuesday And Early Wednesday.  On The Forecast Track...The Center Of
Paula Will Move Over The Northwest Caribbean Sea Tonight And
Approach The East Coast Of The Yucatan Peninsula Within The
Hurricane Warning Area Tuesday Night And Wednesday.

Maximum Sustained Winds Have Increased To Near 70 Mph...110
Km/Hr...With Higher Gusts.  Additional Strengthening Is Forecast...
And Paula Is Expected To Become A Hurricane On Tuesday.

Tropical Storm Force Winds Extend Outward Up To 70 Miles...110 Km
From The Center.

Estimated Minimum Central Pressure Is 994 Mb...29.35 Inches.

Hazards Affecting Land
----------------------
Wind...Tropical Storm Conditions Are Occurring Within The Tropical
Storm Warning Area In Honduras. Tropical Storm Force Winds Are
Expected To Reach The Coast Within The Hurricane Warning Area By
Late Tuesday...With Hurricane Conditions Expected By Early
Wednesday.

Rainfall...Paula Is Expected To Produce Total Rain Accumulations
Of 3 To 6 Inches Over...Eastern Honduras...The Yucatan Peninsula Of
Mexico...And Northern Belize.  Isolated Maximum Amounts Of 10
Inches Are Possible In Areas Of Mountainous Terrain In Honduras...
Where These Rains Could Cause Life-Threatening Flash Floods And
Mudslides.

Storm Surge...A Storm Surge Is Expected To Produce Coastal Flooding
Along The East Coast Of The Yucatan Peninsula And On The Bay Islands
Of Honduras. Near The Coast...The Surge Will Be Accompanied By
Large Waves.

Next Advisory
-------------
Next Intermediate Advisory...200 Am Edt.
Next Complete Advisory...500 Am Edt.

Forecaster Brown/Cangialosi

Tropical Storm Paula Discussion Number   2
Nws Tpc/National Hurricane Center Miami Fl   Al182010
1100 Pm Edt Mon Oct 11 2010

Several Microwave Images Prior To 0000 Utc Indicated That The
Center Was Located Near The Eastern Side Of The Deep Convective
Mass.  Since That Time The Convection Has Formed Over The
Estimated Center And It Appears That Paula Is Strengthening.  The
Initial Intensity Is Raised To 60 Kt...Based On The Improved
Organization.  An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter Aircraft Is En
Route And Should Provide A Better Assessment Of The Intensity Of
Paula Early Tuesday Morning.

Paula Is Forecast To Remain Over Warm Water And In Light To Moderate
Southeasterly Shear During The Next Day Or So.  This Environment
Favors Strengthening And The Nhc Forecast Is Near The Upper-End Of
The Guidance.  By 48 Hours...Increasing Southwesterly Shear And
Drier Air Over The Gulf Of Mexico Will Likely Induce Weakening.
The Official Forecast At 3-5 Days Is Lower Than The Previous
Advisory And Is Close To The Intensity Consensus.  

The Somewhat Uncertain Initial Motion Estimate Is 315/10.  Paula
Is Forecast To Turn North-Northwest Then North Around The Western
Periphery Of A Mid- To Upper-Level Ridge Over The Northern
Caribbean Sea.  The Latest Track Guidance Is Generally Faster
During The First 24-36 Hours...Which Results In A Position North Of
The Previous Nhc Track.  After 36 Hours...The Ridge Is Expected To
Weaken As A Deep-Layer Trough Moves Across The Southeastern United
States.  This Should Cause Paula To Slow Down As The Steering
Currents Collapse.  Given The Large Spread In The Guidance Beyond
48 Hours...The Confidence In The Latter Portion Of The Track
Remains Quite Low.

Forecast Positions And Max Winds

Initial      12/0300z 16.8n  84.6w    60 Kt
 12hr Vt     12/1200z 17.9n  85.5w    70 Kt
 24hr Vt     13/0000z 19.4n  86.3w    80 Kt
 36hr Vt     13/1200z 20.4n  86.7w    85 Kt
 48hr Vt     14/0000z 21.0n  86.4w    75 Kt
 72hr Vt     15/0000z 21.5n  85.5w    60 Kt
 96hr Vt     16/0000z 21.5n  84.5w    55 Kt
120hr Vt     17/0000z 21.5n  83.5w    45 Kt
Forecaster Brown/Cangialosi

 

Now for an opinion piece accompanied by a few facts.

Why did Paula ‘develop’ so fast – or did it?

Paula was never officially a tropical depression. Suddenly, late Monday afternoon, there’s  strong Tropical Storm Paula with 60 mph sustained winds and hurricane warnings issued.

SAY WHAT?

Obviously, Paula at some point WAS a tropical depression before it became a tropical storm.  However, that fact seemed to escape the notice of the Hurricane Center (but not by many meteorologists). 

Unfortunately, we have seen this situation played out several times over the last decade.

A little background first – the Tropical Prediction Center / National Hurricane Center is considered THE source when it comes to defining and naming tropical storms and hurricanes. That makes sense – otherwise, you would have competing agencies / companies doing it and creating quite a bit of confusion.

In addition, the National Hurricane Center is a government agency (NOAA is over the National Weather Service which is over the Hurricane Center) using satellites and cutting edge computers funded by YOUR tax dollars. Thus, all the weather information and related policies should be transparent, logical and consistent not only to meteorologists but also to the American public.

But over the last ten years, the trend has become more subjective pertaining to when a tropical depression forms as well as when it “gets” a name.

As an example – back in 2001 The Hurricane Center’s ‘Tropical Outlook’ early June 5 release stated no tropical development was expected for 48 hours. Later that same day Tropical Allison was bearing down on the upper Texas coast with 60+ mph winds. Had the storm suddenly appeared? No, satellite images showed a suspicious area, but no recon flight was ordered. By midday, it was obvious that a depression had not only formed but probably was already a tropical storm.

For the sake of brevity, we will skip all the intervening similar case studies. Now it has happened again with 2010’s Paula. I mentioned on air this past weekend that you could see a low had developed (which is now Paula). Other more highly trained and educated meteorologists obviously had seen the same thing [by the way, Accuweather’s Joe Bastardi is required reading if you are really into weather – check him out at www.accuweather.com].

However, on Sunday no recon flight was ordered into what was becoming Paula.  By the time the National Hurricane Center did so later Monday morning, ground observations showed a closed circulation present (i.e., a surface low had formed), and winds were gusting well in excess of 40 mph.

Thus, the depression stage had already passed, and we now have not only a tropical storm but a strong one at that.

What all this means is: Except in emergencies, NEVER trust just one source for understanding a particular subject. In addition, make government agencies (and politicians) accountable because it’s your tax dollars at stake.

There are many weather sites on the internet that deal in hard science stripped of politics. Good sites provoke you to decide on your own what the logical answer is. Sites I recommend are Accuweather.com and  ICECAP.US. Find professionals (many exist on the internet) who have an extensive background (education AND experience) in their subject matter. Beware of amateur bloggers.

By the way, a parting suggestion – NEVER give much credence to what a politician, celebrity, or actor says on a subject dealing with a biological or physical science (such as the climate). Many, if not most,  such people have little education or practical experience in the ‘pet projects’ they are pushing.

Ask yourself: Am I being shown a way that might improve my life or an I being told how to live my life?

Be skeptical and become informed – not brainwashed.

After spending several days in the far southwestern Gulf as a tropical depression, then as a tropical storm, Opal finally started moving northeast into the central Gulf.

During the morning of Oct 4, Hurricane Opal intensified explosively – falling from 951 mb (Cat 3 strength) to 916 mb (with 150 mph winds, almost Cat 5 strength) – a drop of 35 mb in 9 hours! (1 mb drop per hour is considered rapid strengthening).

In fact, once this news became public, most Florida panhandle north/south highways became gridlocked with residents tring to flee the coast (a lesson most local emergency officials have remembered).

Fortunately, by midday the favorable atmospheric setup that stimulated such rapid intensification quickly turned less favorable, and Opal ‘weakened’ to a ‘marginal’ Cat 3 hurricane with sustained winds around 115 mph at landfall near the Ft. Walton Beach / Destin area Wednesday evening Oct. 4.

Hurricane force sustained winds and gusts near 100 mph blew through much of Okaloosa and Walton counties in Florida. Winds of 50 to 80 mph were reported through much of southern and southeastern Alabama.

The damage along the coast near the center of Opal was major and extensive, but if Opal had maintained its earlier strength, the damage would have been catastrophic and overwhelming.

Opal’s death toll was a total of 9 – mostly away from the coast where wind blown trees fell onto cars and homes. Some of the deaths were in northwestern Georgia. Again, had Opal been as strong as it was earlier, that death toll would have soared.

One of the big effects from Opal was the massive amount of sand driven inland. Many hotels and motels in the Ft. Walton Beach area had 3 to 5 feet of white sand on their first floor deposited by wave action.

Below are clippings from Hurricane Opal. 

After 110 days at or above 90 degrees this year for Dothan (includes 9 days at or above 100), it looks like the 90s have left the building. Someone lock the door, please!

After a bone dry September, most of us received at least an inch of rain Sunday evening with some more into Monday morning. Nice to see a colorful radar again.

Now, the first widespread shot of 50 degree night temps will arrive, and it looks like upper 40s may show up at night during the first full week of October.

What about the tropics? The next 2 to 3 weeks represent the last significant threat to our area (Yes, there have been isolated November threats, but by then the north Gulf waters have cooled enough to limit the intensity,  plus the steering winds have increased from the west to turn the systems more toward the northeast Gulf or the Florida peninsula).

Here is the Sunday overnight satellite image south of us.

As expected a low (eventually Nicole?) is trying to develop north of Honduras and east of Yucatan. It should move north mid to late week. For several days the trend has been for it to turn and cross the Florida peninsula late week or over the upcoming weekend.

In another week, yet another low (Otto?) may develop in the same general vicinity in the Caribbean.

Stay tuned to WTVY-TV for updates.

On Sep 23, 1975  Hurricane Eloise scored the first direct hit by a major hurricane in the Fort Walton Beach – Panama City area in the 20th century. 125 mph sustained winds (955 mb pressure) were recorded at landfall with a 155 mph gust at Panama City (twenty years later, Cat 3 Opal had 115 mph sustained winds at landfall in a similar area).

Tides were recorded 12 to 16 feet above normal. Heavy rain was confined to near the center of the fast moving hurricane, but considerable beach erosion occurred. No deaths in Florida or Alabama directly resulted from Eloise, although two heart attack deaths were recorded.

As Eloise roared north during the day Sep 23, severe winds created damage through most of southeast Alabama.

Several people were injured in Geneva county; a 100 mph wind gust was recorded northeast of Ozark; a tornado in Pike county ripped up numerous pecan trees; another tornado near Auburn littered nearby I-85 with dozens of trees; and several outages of power were reported in southeast Alabama.

As Eloise interacted later with a stationary front in the mid Atlantic states, major flooding resulted with loss of life.

First, the entire WTVY-TV area is in at least a moderate drought – with the Alabama counties and the nearby Florida area in a severe drought. A wet August has not been enough to overcome below average spring rainfall, a dry July and a bone dry September (so far).

However, the long term picture is not as depressing, thanks to a very wet 2009 and this past winter.

Regardless of what you might hear, weather patterns are cyclical and the rains will return. Without getting too technical, the current La Nina atmospheric pattern is not particularly favorable for a quick turnaround in rainfall fortunes. Our best hope would be a weak or disorganized tropical system bringing rain this fall. Unfortunately,  you don’t get to pick your weather – it picks you.

So, what about the next two weeks?

The mid 90 temps continue on Monday Sep 20, then trend down toward 90 later in the week. High pressure early this week moves east into the Atlantic around Friday Sep 24 and opens the tropical door to the southeast – but what is out there?

This satellite image is from Sunday overnight. Igor is passing just west of Bermuda (top center), but at bottom center you see a disorganized area of tropical weather that is forecast to move WNW and be near southern Florida around Friday Sep 24.

For now, no development into a named tropical system is forecast. The aforementioned high pressure moving away east into the Atlantic is expected to push that area of tropical moisture at least into the Gulf where it could bring rain chances for our area late week into the weekend. At this stage, only a chance, but plausible.

Anything else in the tropics brewing?

Julia is falling apart, and Igor is heading quickly northward as an open Atlantic storm.

 The Hurricane Center likes the chances of the circled area becoming a named (Lisa) tropical system within 48 hours. However, they’ve been saying that for more than 48 hours already. There’s a great deal of dry air out ahead of ‘Lisa-to-be’ , and I don’t think quick development looks promising for now.

If ‘Lisa-to-be’ does eventually develop, limited forecast computer guidance takes it into the Caribbean but moves it west, staying well south of our area early next week (Sep 27-29). That’s because by then, new high pressure along the east coast builds southward toward the southeast and would block ‘Lisa-to-be’ from moving toward us.

If all, most (or at least some) of the above verifies (good luck with that), it stays warm (87-91) and mostly dry most of next week (Sep 27-Sep 30). However, just in time for October, around Oct 1 Friday, a significant cold front brings the first bonafide shot of cooler fall weather.

Alas, it doesn’t appear to bring much frontal rainfall. We may have to hope for that disorganized tropical system that isn’t firing on all cylinders.

In 24 hours the pressure in IGOR dropped from 992 mb to 935 mb – a change of 57 mb!  A 24 mb drop over 24 hours is considered a rapid intensification, much less a 57 mb drop. 

However, the 57 mb drop is not a record – in 1988, Hurricane Gilbert’s pressure went from 960 mb to 888 mb (a 72 mb drop) in the central Caribbean before slamming into the eastern Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 5 hurricane with 165 mph winds.

The Hurricane Center would be the first to tell you not enough is understood about why and how such rapid intensification occurs in hurricanes.  So this lack of knowledge limits the information that goes into computer guidance that forecasts hurricane strength. 

A stronger hurricane may also follow a different path over time since intense hurricanes can modify the interactions with the surrounding atmosphere.

In fact, there seems to be a growing spread in the computer weather models predicting IGOR’s path for later this week. The only constant is IGOR stays in the Atlantic.  Bermuda, then the U.S. east coast from North Carolina northward will be watching closely.

(Oscar’s notes:

What a rapid intensification of Igor! (at the right in the satellite image above..the developing Caribbean system is at center left – also, see previous post  ‘Igor..Atlantic Monster’)..I’ll write more about these tropical systems later this evening.)

HURRICANE IGOR ADVISORY NUMBER  19
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL     AL112010
500 PM AST SUN SEP 12 2010

…LARGE AND POWERFUL IGOR MOVING WESTWARD OVER THE CENTRAL TROPICAL
ATLANTIC…

SUMMARY OF 500 PM AST…2100 UTC…INFORMATION
———————————————-
LOCATION…17.7N 46.9W
ABOUT 1065 MI…1715 KM E OF THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…140 MPH…220 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT…W OR 270 DEGREES AT 14 MPH…22 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…942 MB…27.82 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS
——————–
THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT.

DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
——————————
AT 500 PM AST…2100 UTC…THE CENTER OF HURRICANE IGOR WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 17.7 NORTH…LONGITUDE 46.9 WEST. IGOR IS MOVING
TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 14 MPH…22 KM/HR.  A TURN TOWARD THE
WEST-NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED ON TUESDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 140 MPH…220
KM/HR…WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  IGOR IS A CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON
THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE WIND SCALE.  SOME ADDITIONAL
STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 40 MILES…65 KM…FROM
THE CENTER…AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 160
MILES…260 KM.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 942 MB…27.82 INCHES.

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
———————-
NONE.

NEXT ADVISORY
————-
NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY…1100 PM AST.

FORECASTER ROBERTS/BRENNAN

HURRICANE IGOR DISCUSSION NUMBER  19
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL   AL112010
500 PM AST SUN SEP 12 2010

IGOR CONTINUES TO INTENSIFY AT A RAPID PACE.  DVORAK INTENSITY
ESTIMATES AND THE UW-CIMSS ADT HAVE INCREASED FURTHER…AND THE
INITIAL INTENSITY IS ADJUSTED SLIGHTLY UPWARD TO 120 KT BASED ON A
COMPROMISE OF THESE DATA AND THE LATEST SATCON INTENSITY ESTIMATE.
THE OFFICIAL INTENSITY FORECAST HAS ALSO BEEN ADJUSTED TO SHOW SOME
FURTHER STRENGTHENING AND A PEAK INTENSITY AT DAY 3 OF 135
KT…SIMILAR TO SHIPS MODEL. FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE PERIOD…THE
OFFICIAL FORECAST CALLS FOR SOME GRADUAL WEAKENING AND IS BASED
PRIMARILY ON THE ICON CONSENSUS MODEL. IT IS WORTH NOTING THAT
FLUCTUATIONS IN STRENGTH DUE TO EYEWALL REPLACEMENT CYCLES ARE
POSSIBLE…HOWEVER…THERE IS LITTLE SKILL IN FORECASTING THE
TIMING OF THESE CYCLES.

THE INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE REMAINS 270/12. THE TRACK FORECAST
PHILOSOPHY REMAINS UNCHANGED FOR THIS ADVISORY…HOWEVER THERE IS
STILL CONSIDERABLE DYNAMICAL MODEL SPREAD AFTER 36 HOURS.  THE
HWRF…UKMET AND ECMWF REMAIN TO THE LEFT OF THE CONSENSUS AND ARE
SLIGHTLY SLOWER…WHILE THE OTHER REGIONAL AND GLOBAL MODELS
SUGGEST A MORE PRONOUNCED WEAKNESS WITH TIME IN THE MID- TO
UPPER-LEVEL RIDGE. THE NHC TRACK FORECAST IS NUDGED TO THE RIGHT OF
THE PREVIOUS FORECAST AFTER DAY 3…CLOSER TO THE TVCN CONSENSUS
MODEL…BUT STILL TO THE LEFT OUT OF RESPECT TO THE RELIABLE ECMWF
MODEL.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL      12/2100Z 17.7N  46.9W   120 KT
12HR VT     13/0600Z 17.8N  48.7W   125 KT
24HR VT     13/1800Z 18.1N  50.8W   125 KT
36HR VT     14/0600Z 18.7N  52.6W   130 KT
48HR VT     14/1800Z 19.4N  54.3W   130 KT
72HR VT     15/1800Z 21.3N  57.1W   135 KT
96HR VT     16/1800Z 23.5N  60.0W   125 KT
120HR VT     17/1800Z 25.8N  62.9W   120 KT

FORECASTER ROBERTS/BRENNAN

IGOR became a hurricane at the 10 pm cdt update Saturday Sep 11. It is expected to become a major (Cat 3) hurricane late Monday (13th) or early Tuesday (14th). I would say IGOR has a 50/50 chance of reaching Cat 5 status for a brief period out in the open Atlantic between Wednesday (15th) to Friday (17th).

IGOR stays in the Atlantic, then moves northwestward as a weakening but still potent hurricane.

IGOR could pose a significant threat to Bermuda, but for now IGOR appears to stay just far enough west of Bermuda to spare it major damage.  IGOR should weaken to a Cat 2 or Cat 1 hurricane before it threatens the Canadian maritimes in 7 to 9 days.

Rough surf from IGOR will impact the east US coast from the Carolinas northward also late next week. 

The area above circled #1 should develop once it reaches the central Caribbean early in the week, but is expected to continue moving either west or WNW and impact Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize or the Yucatan peninsula, staying well south of the US, except possibly extreme southern Texas.

The area above circled #2 will likely develop later today Sunday Sep 12. It has equal chances of either making it into the northeast Caribbean or staying in the Atlantic.

Don’t even worry about #3 – it will be absorbed by a frontal system just to its west within a day or two.

The main concern I have for our area would be from late this month through the first half of October. For the last several weeks we either have had high pressure near or on top of us, or an upper flow out of the northwest.

That’s good news and bad news. Bad news in that it has kept us in a very dry pattern. Good news in that both high pressure and northwest flow act as roadblocks to any approaching tropical system.

This dry (and protective) pattern will eventually break down – but when? For now, we don’t see any significant changes for another 10 days.

BULLETIN
TROPICAL DEPRESSION TEN ADVISORY NUMBER   1
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL     AL102010
1000 PM CDT SUN SEP 05 2010

…NEW TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS IN THE EXTREME SOUTHWESTERN GULF OF
MEXICO…TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS ISSUED FOR PORTIONS OF MEXICO…

SUMMARY OF 1000 PM CDT…0300 UTC…INFORMATION
———————————————–
LOCATION…20.7N 95.2W
ABOUT 270 MI…435 KM SE OF LA PESCA MEXICO
ABOUT 200 MI…325 KM ESE OF TAMPICO MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…30 MPH…45 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT…N OR 5 DEGREES AT 7 MPH…11 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…1003 MB…29.62 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS
——————–
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY…

THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO HAS ISSUED A TROPICAL STORM WARNING FOR THE
COAST OF MEXICO FROM TAMPICO TO THE MOUTH OF THE RIO GRANDE.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT…

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR…
* THE COAST OF MEXICO FROM TAMPICO TO THE MOUTH OF THE RIO GRANDE

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA…IN THIS CASE WITHIN 24
TO 36 HOURS.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA IN THE UNITED
STATES…INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS…PLEASE
MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
FORECAST OFFICE. FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA OUTSIDE
THE UNITED STATES…PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL
METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.

DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
——————————
AT 1000 PM CDT…0300 UTC…THE CENTER OF TROPICAL DEPRESSION TEN
WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 20.7 NORTH…LONGITUDE 95.2 WEST. THE
DEPRESSION IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH NEAR 7 MPH…11 KM/HR.  A TURN
TOWARD THE NORTHWEST AND AN INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED ARE EXPECTED
BY LATE MONDAY.  ON THE FORECAST TRACK…THE CENTER OF THE
DEPRESSION IS EXPECTED TO BE NEAR THE COAST OF NORTHEASTERN MEXICO
IN THE WARNING AREA EARLY TUESDAY MORNING. 

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 30 MPH…45 KM/HR…WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.  SOME STRENGTHENING IS EXPECTED PRIOR TO LANDFALL…AND THE
DEPRESSION COULD BECOME A TROPICAL STORM ON MONDAY.

THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1003 MB…29.62 INCHES…
BASED ON REPORTS FROM NOAA BUOY 42055. 

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
———————-
WIND…TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH THE WARNING
AREA MONDAY NIGHT.

RAINFALL…THE DEPRESSION IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE RAINFALL
ACCUMULATIONS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES OVER NORTHEASTERN MEXICO INTO SOUTH
TEXAS WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 12 INCHES POSSIBLE.  THESE
RAINFALL AMOUNTS MAY CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOOD AND
MUDSLIDES…ESPECIALLY OVER THE HIGHER TERRAIN OF NORTHEASTERN
MEXICO.

NEXT ADVISORY
————-
NEXT INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY…100 AM CDT.
NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY…400 AM CDT.

$$
FORECASTER BLAKE/BRENNAN

TROPICAL DEPRESSION TEN DISCUSSION NUMBER   1
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL   AL102010
1000 PM CDT SUN SEP 05 2010

THE SMALL LOW PRESSURE AREA IN THE EXTREME SOUTHWESTERN GULF OF
MEXICO HAS DEVELOPED ENOUGH ORGANIZED CONVECTION TO WARRANT IT BEING
DECLARED A TROPICAL DEPRESSION THIS EVENING.  CURVED BANDS ARE
READILY APPARENT ON THE ALVARADO MEXICO RADAR SITE…AND A 2340 UTC
WINDSAT PASS ALSO SHOWS A DISTINCT CURVED BAND SIGNATURE. SATELLITE
CLASSIFICATIONS FROM TAFB/SAB ARE BOTH T1.5…25 KT…AND THIS WILL
BE USED AS THE INITIAL INTENSITY.  CONDITIONS APPEAR QUITE FAVORABLE
FOR INTENSIFICATION UNTIL LANDFALL DUE TO VERY WARM WATER AND LIGHT
WIND SHEAR.  ALL OF THE MODELS EXCEPT THE HWRF SHOW STRENGTHENING
AND THE OFFICIAL FORECAST IS A LITTLE HIGHER THAN MOST OF THE
GUIDANCE.

THE INITIAL MOTION IS A SOMEWHAT UNCERTAIN 005/6. THE CYCLONE SHOULD
TURN TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST AND NORTHWEST TOMORROW AND INCREASE
ITS FORWARD SPEED AS MIDDLE-TROPOSPHERIC RIDGING BUILDS ACROSS THE
NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO. THE GLOBAL MODELS ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT ON
THIS SCENARIO…ALTHOUGH THERE ARE SOME DIFFERENCES ON WHEN THE
LEFT TURN OCCURS. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST LIES NEAR THE DYNAMICAL
MODEL CONSENSUS…AND IS A LITTLE NORTH OF THE GFS MODEL.

THE TRACK AND INTENSITY FORECAST REQUIRES THE ISSUANCE OF TROPICAL
STORM WARNINGS FOR A PORTION OF THE MEXICAN COAST AT THIS TIME.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL      06/0300Z 20.7N  95.2W    25 KT
12HR VT     06/1200Z 21.6N  95.4W    35 KT
24HR VT     07/0000Z 23.3N  96.9W    45 KT
36HR VT     07/1200Z 24.7N  98.4W    30 KT…INLAND
48HR VT     08/0000Z 26.4N  99.9W    25 KT…POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
72HR VT     09/0000Z 30.0N 100.5W    20 KT…POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
96HR VT     10/0000Z…DISSIPATED

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 PM EDT SUN SEP 5 2010

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC…CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO…

1. SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY HAS BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED IN
ASSOCIATION WITH THE REMNANT LOW OF GASTON LOCATED ABOUT 700 MILES
EAST OF THE LEEWARD ISLANDS.  ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR
CONDUCIVE FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION…AND THE LOW COULD
REDEVELOP INTO A TROPICAL DEPRESSION AT ANY TIME TODAY OR TONIGHT
AS IT MOVES WESTWARD NEAR 15 MPH.  INTERESTS IN THE LEEWARD ISLANDS
SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM.  WARNINGS WILL LIKELY
BE REQUIRED FOR SOME OF THESE ISLANDS IF ADVISORIES ARE
RE-INITIATED.  THERE IS A HIGH CHANCE…80 PERCENT… OF THIS
SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE AGAIN DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

2. SATELLITE IMAGES AND RADAR IMAGERY FROM MEXICO INDICATE THAT THE
BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED OVER THE EXTREME SOUTHWESTERN
GULF OF MEXICO HAS NOT BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED OVER THE PAST FEW
HOURS.  ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR FAVORABLE FOR DEVELOPMENT
AND A TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD FORM DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO
BEFORE THE SYSTEM MOVES INLAND.  THERE IS A HIGH CHANCE…60
PERCENT…OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES NORTHWESTWARD AT 5 TO 10 MPH.

ELSEWHERE…TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

FORECASTER CANGIALOSI/PASCH

Earl, soon to be Fiona and likely other yet to develop tropical storms and / or hurricanes will pose an increasing threat to the US coastline in the weeks ahead.

Earl will be a hurricane officially later this Sunday morning.
Regardless, the pressure at Earl’s center was 992 mb from the 10pm cdt Saturday Aug 28 recon data and was listed as 989 mb in that update.

Such a pressure in a strengthening tropical cyclone would support hurricane force (above 73 mph) sustained winds at the surface.

Earl poses a significant threat for the extreme northern Leeward Islands, with HURRICANE WARNINGS (hurricane winds expected) for Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla.
HURRICANE WATCHES are up for St. Maarten, the American Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

For now, Earl looks to pass just to the northeast of Puerto Rico.

Earl could possibly threaten the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the mid Atlantic area, and / or New England later this upcoming week.
At the very least, Earl will be uncomfortably close to the east US coast then.

Farther east is another tropical system.
This system has NOT yet been declared a tropical depression, but it should be (image below).

In fact, it already has tropical storm force gusts (greater than 38 mph) and will be Tropical Storm Fiona by later Sunday or Monday Aug 30.

Fiona poses an even greater threat to the southeast US coast the latter part of the Labor Day weekend.
For now, the threat looks to be more to the Atlantic coast around South or North Carolina.

(above is Hurricane Fran 1996; Earl or more likely Fiona could be in a similar position with time)

Unfortunately, this active tropical pattern may try to shift westward with time.

Such a shift would increase the threat of tropical storms and hurricanes making their way into the Gulf of Mexico from mid September into early October.

It is a POTENTIAL but not yet a real THREAT, but we all need to be vigilant and thinking ahead.

We DO NOT want to repeat such scenes as the following -

More information throughout the next several weeks from all of us here at WTVY-TV.

Oscar Fann

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